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DICKENSON'S LOTION "FOR ERUPTIONS OF THE SKIN, <§r."
Of all nostrums, we conceive a general lotion for cutaneous affections, must, from its indiscriminate use, prove the most dangerous. Diseases! of the skin are both active and chronic; the former we believe always, and the latter, for the most part, of a critical nature, in which cases repellant applications must prove highly injurious, and in some instances fatal. The lotions sold under this title, that have come under our examination, have been nothing less than a solution of corrosive sublimate of mercury in the almond emulsion!!!
What must be the effects of an application of such a composition to St. Anthony's fire r A late popular medical writer observes, in treating on erysipilas, "Notwithstanding the great danger that "always attends the use of external applications "in this disease, empirics are bold enough to "assert, that by the use of their lotions it may be "infallibly cured. I was some time since requested "to see a patient afflicted with this disorder, who "from the use of one of these advertised remedies "was attacked with inflammation of the brain, "and had she continued its application one day "longer, it would most assuredly have cost her "her life."
We can from our own knowledge state, that insanity, phrenitis, inflammation of the bowels and lungs, consumption and palsy, have followed the repulsion of cutaneous eruption from the imprudent use of advertised cosmetics.
Solution of mercury is a very old remedy for chronic leprous affections of the skin, but its strength requires to be varied according to the irritability of the parts, for it frequently, by being too strong, aggravates the disease. It is therefore absolutely necessary, that its effects should be attended to by a medical man; but we may with truth assert, that in one case out of a hundred, of cutaneous eruptions, such applications are not proper, or to be used with impunity.
A solution of corrosive sublimate is a very dan* gerous medicine to advertise for diseases of the skin. It cannot improve the complexion, and we are convinced that it may render the skin red and course, an instance of which has occurred to our knowledge, in two young ladies of respectability, .who after its use, walked for. some time in the sun. .We are sorry our limits will not admit of the insert tion of the two cases, with the proprietor's attempt to vindicate his lotion, sent to us oy their mother1 for that purpose.
BY HIS MAJESTY'S ROYAL AUTHORITY,
DOCTOR MATTHEWS'S ALTERATIVE MEDICINES,
Price 2s. 9d. each Box or Bottle,
Are recommended for the Cure of the Venereal Disease." •
The following is a copy of the Doctor's advert .tisement:—
Insomuch, that by near thirty years expe"rience and extensive" practice, more than 80,000
"persons have been perfectly cured of the above "disorder, even when salivations, and all other *' methods avail nothing. They are declared by "the most eminent physicians and surgeons to be
an admirable and compendious medicine, being "free from mercury, requires no particular atten*' tion or hindrance from business, which makes "them peculiarly convenient for the traveller, sea"man, and servant, whose business must be at*
tended. To make the secrecy as profound as '' possible, the Doctor constantly attends him* "self) being particularly attentive to the symp* *l toms of every disorder, gives the medicines "conformable thereto, provides every other topi"cal application, without the least trouble to the (t patient: and above all, is ever careful of the "principal object, the constitution of the patient. *' His preventative, which if taken within 24 hours
after connection, will infallibly prevent the dis<c order taking place. Delays may be attended *' with disagreeable consequences. His chymical *' tincture, at 2s. 9d. a certain cure for the itch, *' without discovery, injuring the linen or affect'* ing the health. Advice gratis.—Patients treated *' on the most unequivocal and moderate terms."
Notwithstanding the positive assertion of the advertiser to the contrary, we do not scruple to say, that it is. neither in the power of Doctor Matthews, Doctor Harvey, or any of their contemporary advertisers to cure a real venereal case without mercury, and if his pills ever cured a person so affected, we have no hesitation to say, that the basis of them is mercury. A person that can cure the disease without mercury need not advertise, and a person that has cured eighty thousand venereal patients even with mercury, one would have supposed must have given poor satisfaction, still .to be under the necessity of distributing his handbills in every part of London. The good .word of one tenth of that number would be sufficient, to secure him much more practice iii that line than he could possibly attend to himself. We think the proprietor of this nostrum exceedingly reprehensible in persuading the ignorant and credulous that they are free from mercury, inasmuch as they may thereby be induced to take such liberties as under a course of mercury might endanger if not destroy their lives. The venereal disease appears in so many forms, and often complicated with such other constitutional complaints, that it is impossible one remedy can be applicable to the treatment of all, for although mercury be the only specific we are acquainted with in the disease, different symptoms not only require different preparations of it, but also to be compounded with other medicines: hence,. in irritability of the stomach and bowels, opium is. necessary to accompany its use, which again, is highly improper in case of costiveness or fever. When attended with debility, the Peruvian bark is an excellent auxiliary; but there is often an irritability of system; of the local ulceration especially, and often a kind of typhus fever accompanying it, which render the use of mercury in any shape inadmissible, till the febrile symptoms and irritability are subdued by other means. Hence we find, that from the indiscriminate use of mercury or advertised nostrums, the most distressing and melancholy cases are constantly applying for admission at the dif» ferent hospitals in London, that if the advertisers of these nostrums were to witness the agonized death of one, he must be devoid of every sense of humanity, if he afterwards persisted in his practice of advertising nostrums,
It has been asserted by a late author, that no less than four thousand prostitutes die annually of the venereal disease in the different hospitals in London, through having placed false confidence in the promises of empirics—a melancholy fact indeed 11
A surgeon has informed us, that a few days since he was desired to see a sailor, with bad fever. The poor man stated, that he had during his stay in London, through intoxication, contracted the venerable disease, and that he had applied to an advertising doctor, who promised to cure him without mercury. He had taken his pills and rubbed in the ointment according to directions. On examining the boxes (for which he had paid half-a-guinea, about seven shillings more than any regular surgeon would have charged) I found them both to contain mercury, and the ointment to be the strongest mercurial ointment, which he had been using till he had really salivated himself, and that too in a disorder in which a grain of mercury was not necessary. His complaint, instead of the venereal disease, being nothing more than a simple gonorrhoea (11. He had pushed the use of the mercury so far that a portion of the soft palate really sloughed away, and still intended persevering in it if he had not seen him, the consequence of which would probably have been such a fever and complaint of the bowels that might have destroyed his life.—So much for curing the venereal disease without mercury !!!
We are assured by a very sensible writer (whose cases being similar to the above we judge unnecessary to insert), that the patients of advertising Doctors consist chiefly of sailors. . In our next number we shall make some observations on the legal qualifications of Dr. Harvey, 1)r. Mathews, &c. &c."